Updated: Oct 9
You might have started this year saying "2022 IS MY YEAR! I AM READY! I WILL ACCOMPLISH ALL MY PHYSICAL GOALS!! ." It's February...how are you doing with that?
You have manifested this to be the year you push your body to do great things... set some new PR's, run the marathon, make the team, win the competition. The timing is right. You are healthy. You've made a plan & your goals are set. Nothing can stop you right? Let's keep it that way. This blog is a breakdown of the do's and don'ts to BULLETPROOF YOUR BODY IN 2022.
Let's get started!
-DON'T OVERTRAIN. Over-training is our biggest nemesis. We have so much we want to accomplish, but the body will tell us when it is done. When we move past this message we are at high risk for an injury. When we continue on, but fatigue is present, the body will make it happen. However, tif we do too much of the same thing the body will no longer be in balance, beautifully coordinating and you will be relying on your fast-twitch power muscles to make it happen. Then you wake on one day and you have an overuse injury.
-DON'T OVERLOAD/UNDERLOAD It is very important to properly load the body with the right amount of load. Too much load can create injury, not enough load can lead to injury. Load is defined by the amount of time x the perceived work. Making sure your training load increases slowly over time will reduce your injury risk. Loading too much too quick can create injury. Not loading enough will reduce your fitness and strength capacity.
-DON'T OVERSTRETCH I know your hip flexor is sore but it does not ALWAYS need to be stretched. Stretching the muscles you use in training 2-3 x a week is likely enough. Overstretching does not fix the soreness. It just irritates the area.
-START WITH A GOOD WARMUP Get your body engaged, perform some isolated activations for the body parts you will be moving in your workouts, range your joints, & dynamically stretch to prepare your body to work at a high level.
-PROGRESS SLOWLY The body needs time to adapt to increased loads. Try a new challenge several times before you increase the load again. Try not to increase multiple variables (ex: duration & frequency) at once. In a perfect world giving the body 1-2 weeks to adapt before progressing to the next level is ideal. When making a plan to ramp up your training, consider the amount of time you might need to get the body there safely.
-CROSS-TRAIN You need make sure you are actually strong enough to do what you want to do. Performing the activity alone does not provide the strength and flexibility to run, dance, surf, ski, etc... Set aside a day or two each week to mix it up and perform strength and flexibility in the areas that complement your sport.
-REST A minimum of 1 day/week needs to be taken off to give the body a break. This doesn't mean be a couch potato ;) Not moving at all results in increased stiffness. Light activity like gentle walks and working on your self-mobilization/stretching are great for recovery days. Yoga & Pilates can be great for recovery, it focuses on breath-work, meditation, and long supported holds. Maybe treat yourself to a massage, sauna, or cryotherapy session? A trip with friends/family to the beach or some beautiful outdoor scenery can be very grounding. Get creative, recovery can be fun :)
-RECOVER Recovery needs to be a part of our life so our body can catch up to the increased load. Ice/cryo, sauna, epson salt baths, etc. are some examples. Take time to recover so you you feel refreshed for your training sessions.
-TIGHTNESS: TIGHTNESS is almost always a precursor to injury. Commonly when there has been an increase in activity levels, tightness is building. A very common example is tight hamstrings which can lead to a strain of the low back, hip, hamstring, knee, or calf. If we listen to our body, we can catch this before it turns into an injury.
-MOBILITY : Do you have the range of motion to do what you are asking your body to do? Does it feel good? Can you tap into some new space in your shoulder. Checking in with you mobility produces movement that feels good.
-BALANCE/COORDINATION: Don't only focus on end result like the speed of the run or the accuracy of the throw. Focusing on our muscular timing and coordination patterns sets our body up for success to make big things happen. Focus on your footing, your control, and initiate movement from the correct places. We will see positive improvement in our skills when we focus on the small stuff.
How do you know if an injury is around the corner?
It's a hard feeling to describe but your body will feel "off". Your running gait may not seem "normal". You might be exhausted and having trouble motivating yourself. Maybe you are unable to hold your balances well or extend your leg as high as usual. Possibly you are muscling through things and making training happen. Sometimes it's unavoidable like a contact injury. Other times it's and overuse injury that we could've prevented.
As physical therapists we love to help you heal, but nothing would bring us more joy than seeing you reach your goals pain-free without having to take time off from what you love to do :)
Take these tips and BULLETPROOF YOUR BODY IN 2022!!
Yours in strength,
Dr. Brown, Dr. P, Dr. Bay, & Kristen